Monday, March 6, 2017

A Liturgical, Advent Banner by Lois Prahlow

"A Liturgical Advent Banner" by Lois Prahlow. Png. not for republishing
A brief explanation of symbols by Lois Prahlow

       The banner depicts traditional Christmas symbols: snowflake, angels, Christmas trees, poinsettias, and stars. The snowflake in the center brings to mind Isaiah 1:18, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow,” and makes a fitting backdrop for the focus of the banner, the manger and the cross. Marked with hearts, the snowflake represents our Heavenly Father’s purity and His love for Jesus, His beloved Son, and for the whole world.
      The angel’s song, Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest!” is inscribed in Latin around the center, while words from Luke 2: 10-11, the angel’s message, is written around the perimeter of the circle.
      Four-pointed stars top each of the six Christmas trees and recall the story of the wise men, Matthew 2:1-12. The four points signify the light to be revealed to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32) in four directions of the earth: north, south, east, and west.
      The Christmas trees form six points of the Creator’s Star.
      Jesus Christ is the beginning of a New Creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.
      The small circles on the trees, starting at the top and proceeding clockwise, represent the following:
  1. Jesus, as a baby holding an olive branch, is superimposed on an open book. This symbolizes “The Word made flesh” (John 1:14), and the Prince of Peace, (Isaiah 9:6).
  2. Glowing candle: Jesus is the Light of the world (John 9:5)
  3. Crown, sunburst, and IHS: Jesus, Triumphant King (Timothy 1:17). IHS are the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek. The sunburst brings to mind Malachi 4:2, which speaks of the sun of righteousness, risen with healing in his wings. The crown symbolizes kingship.
  4. Christmas Rose: The rose is an ancient Roman symbol of victory and triumphant love. As here presented, the beautiful flower signifies our beautiful Savior. Five thorns represent His five wounds sustained at the cross. God was in Christ showing His love for us. The cross, once an instrument of shame and defeat, is now, by God’s grace, a sign of triumph and victory over sin, death, and the devil. Please note the poinsettias sprinkled around the banner are another form of the Christmas rose.
  5. Fleur-de-lis and “M” monogram: A stylized iris, also known in olden times as a sword lily, and the letter “M” represent the Virgin Mary. She is called “blessed” by all generations because she bore the Savior of the world (Luke 1:48). The swordlily makes us think of the sword (sorrow) that pierced her heart when she witnessed the suffering and death of Jesus, as was prophesied by Simeon (Luke 2:35).
  6. Lamb with Chi Rho in circle: John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

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